The tiny artificial muscles by an international team of researchers who can boast 200 times more powerful than human muscle tissue of the same size. In the future, an enhanced version of these muscles can be implemented in the next generation of robots.
Moving parts of the robots, airplanes, and other mechanical devices, usually driven by motors. Scientists from all over the world are trying to create artificial muscles that work like by nature, to make possible a more sensitive motion mechanisms.
Ray Backman, Nanotechnology of the University of Texas at Dallas, leads the team that created the new muscle, which, he said, could be used for medical purposes. In his lab in Texas have found another creative use for them: "We have configured them in such a way that they open and close blinds depending on the temperature in the room," - he said.
Buckman said that in the future, artificial muscles will give those robots more natural facial expressions.
Backman’s lab is going to develop a long muscle tissue, from which you can create a protective uniforms for firefighters. This fabric will automatically close your pores with increasing temperature.
These muscles are composed of carbon nanotubes of which Backman and his team weave thicker fibers similarly as trailing thread of cotton or wool. After that, the empty space between the nanotubes filled with various materials, including paraffin, fossil wax, which is used to create candles.
To compress these muscles, the researchers heated them for a short period of time. When heated, paraffin wax expands, pressing against the walls of the nanotubes, making them thicker and shorter. As the wax cools, it contracts and nanotubes are extended, becoming more subtle. Minimum cycle shortening and lengthening of the muscles is 25 milliseconds, or 25 thousandths of a second. Such rapid movement, allow the muscles to perform a lot of work.
At present, the laboratory is working on finding a replacement thermal chemical control muscles. Heat engines are energy inefficient, and chemical analogs may be more practical.
Work Backman and his colleagues was published Nov. 15 in the journal Science.